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Just curious about folks who homeschool without much of a homeschool community. I will be pulling my 4th grader and 6th grader out of school next month and so far I am not sure how we will be able to participate with many homeschool activities.  For one in our area most seem to be religious based (which is fine if they are open to all people) and two I will work during the morning. Although they are certainly not your "average" ps kids having only gone to a private and currently a pretty small arts charter: they haven't been homeschool all their lives either. Because of this I wonder if they will be welcomed in the homeschool social scene. I intend to have them keep up with their schooled friends as much as possible and they have activities. I mostly wonder how others have handled this. Do the kids feel like they wish they knew others like them? We don't have neighborhood friends so school provides most of their social life. My 6th grader's favorite subjects at school are recess and lunch. She enjoys being around lots of kiddos and feeling like she is a part of something. Even with this challenge I am really excited to bring my kiddos home!

 

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We don't participate in any local homeschool activities at the moment, though we have in the past. My kids participate in regular after school extracurriculars in the community.

 

One thing we have done before is to start a group of our own--if your kids want social time, plan a weekly game day, or a science lab class, or talk to a dance studio about doing a homeschool class during the day.

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My 5th and 6th graders just like group activities but don't care if it is a different group of people every time. So we have done plenty of drop in activities which has kids from public, private and homeschool as well as afterschool activities with public school kids.

 

My kids have been with the same group of kids for private weekly german class for four years so those are the classmates that they grew up with.

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We intentionally avoid homeschool groups. I don't fit in with most of them. I've never fully adjusted to modern homeschoolers after my experiences being homeschooled as a kid, they're so different now to the families I grew up with! In my area they're all very natural, child led, unschooly, no-discipline types, so our rather strict, old fashioned, high responsibilities, early-education family gets a lot of stares. 

 

That's not to say they're all bad, there are some great groups out there, just not in my area! Give the ones you can access, if they welcome you, a go. One thing to keep in mind is that, once you hit upper elementary you find the people with the most time for homeschooling groups (outside of formal co-ops)  are the unschooling families. Which is fine, more power to them, but if you are doing rigorous academics you may find it's not a great fit and that their timetables are too full for you to also complete your work. 

 

As a graduated homeschooler, let me say, socializing with other homeschoolers specifically is not important. Socializing is vital, you need to find outlets for your kids and trying to keep up with their school friends is great. But, knowing other homeschoolers is not a big deal. It's nice, and you'll find that they often come into your life in other ways, you don't need to join a special group for it. I had a core group of friends growing up and they all attended the local high school. I ended up getting involved with that friendship group from one of my longtime friends who I met during a short interval of school attendance in grade 6. I am still friends with many of them today, and our kids are friends, all stemming from one 6th grade friendship upkept by us both. I did have a lot of homeschooled friends, but I met them through a gaming club thing, through church, through a book club event I did, through an outside class I attended, through a homeschooling mailing list my mum subscribed to back in the days of yahoo groups, and through an online website for people who write poetry (which is where I met my homeschooled husband). Homeschoolers tend to gravitate towards each other anyway. 

 

But as a graduated homeschooler myself, now teaching my own kids, I have no intention of joining a homeschooling group at this point. I don't need them, and the ones around me at the moment don't want me, plus, I dislike planning activities during school hours which is when these groups do many of their things. 

Edited by abba12
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With the exception of a couple of park days, after which we decided that it wasn't for us, we haven't been part of any homeschool group in 12 years of homeschooling.  My kids have had friends through the Y, sports and the neighborhood.  It hasn't been an issue for us. 

Edited by Jean in Newcastle
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Your kids are at the ages when their extra curriculars will likely drive much of their social life and friends, no matter how they do school. Sports, music, theater, scouts, rockets, lego, art, dog training, dance, cooking, gardening.... let them do what they love and they will find community. Community service is a great social outlet too! Especially for families as a whole.

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When I pulled my sons out -- they were younger than yours, 1st and 3rd grade -- I made sure they continued extra-curriculars. We did not join any groups at all for the first 4 years. They did taekwondo twice a week, art class once a week, weekly swimming lessons and scouts about once a week, and that was quite a lot. The homeschool groups near us had nice people, but it was just not a good fit during those years -- they were religious, or their kids were different ages or genders from mine.

 

I will say that after 4 years of this schedule, my oldest DS started agitating to meet new people. I found a homeschool group through a state-wide homeschool conference, and that group had kids like my kids. It is an hour drive one way to their coop, but it has been 7 years now, and this group has been pretty central to my kids' education. But the demographics dip and sway as far as socialization opportunities, as well as the commuting distances, so instead of relying on the homeschoolers for socialization we find groups that cater to my kids' various interests. My kids don't care where someone goes to school as long as they can talk to them about their shared interest. You may want to find a group for your own support, but if you are like me, don't be discouraged if it takes a while.

 

Maria

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All of your answers are comforting. I do think that as long as I keep them socially active they will be fine. It will take some effort on my part to make sure they have free play opportunities outside of their activities, but certainly is doable. I plan to make sure to plan some regular playdate days on a monthly or bi-weekly basis: just to make sure I do it. I am considering getting my 6th grader a phone for texting her friends. I never thought I would get her one this early. Most of her friends have them and her best friend fills her in on their( all her friends) texting when she sees her at school. This would be a way for her to still keep connected without always having to go through me.

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Our homeschooling community was fairly casual.  We got together with them maybe twice/month for an afternoon.  Otherwise, we just kept busy doing our own thing or getting involved in other community activities here and there.  It's nice that your kids have each other though, and they are close in age too.  My kids were pretty content to just have each other, most of the time.

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You don't have to have homeschoolers specifically in your pocket for social activities but it DOES help if your kids like having free time in the afternoons to just hang with friends.  PS kids are still in school or in extracurriculars in the afternoon so PS kids are frequently not available until evening, if then.  Other than that, really if they have friends through their extracurriculars they will probably be just fine.  Lots of homeschoolers don't really have a specific homeschooling community they are part of and their kids have plenty of friends.

 

I do recommend you start planning to invite a friend or two over once in a while to give them a chance to develop more in depth friendships.  The kids found it hard to really get to know people as something other than a friendly acquaintance if they just saw them at structured extra curricular activities.  

 

If you intend to homeschool long term you might check with local homeschool groups, just in case.  There might be some really cool activities your kids could participate in, not just co-op classes.  When you say religiously based, are you speaking from experience with these groups?  I ask because there is a local homeschooling group here that has a rigid SOF and is definitely religiously based but there is another group about two hours away that I thought was "religiously based" because it has a cross on its website but it is actually open to anyone, there is no SOF and none of their activities emphasize religion of any kind.  They do field trips and have a literature club for teens that is really popular plus a robotics club and a chess club.  They also teach a Geography and an Earth Science class on Tuesdays and Thursdays that is popular plus they have a Spring Prom and sports teams for upper Elementary, Middle School and High School.  They have a Yearbook that is created by a student Yearbook committee, a Student Council, a Mom's Night Out every month, a library to check out resources, movie night, etc.  If we lived closer I would definitely get the kids involved since the group is so active.  (We have a local group that was supposed to offer many of those things but personality conflicts ripped it apart before we could get it off the ground.)  

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Just curious about folks who homeschool without much of a homeschool community. I will be pulling my 4th grader and 6th grader out of school next month and so far I am not sure how we will be able to participate with many homeschool activities.  For one in our area most seem to be religious based (which is fine if they are open to all people) and two I will work during the morning. Although they are certainly not your "average" ps kids having only gone to a private and currently a pretty small arts charter: they haven't been homeschool all their lives either. Because of this I wonder if they will be welcomed in the homeschool social scene. I intend to have them keep up with their schooled friends as much as possible and they have activities. I mostly wonder how others have handled this. Do the kids feel like they wish they knew others like them? We don't have neighborhood friends so school provides most of their social life. My 6th grader's favorite subjects at school are recess and lunch. She enjoys being around lots of kiddos and feeling like she is a part of something. Even with this challenge I am really excited to bring my kiddos home!

 

Welcome to homeschooling. :-) Also welcome to the Well Trained Mind forum. :cheers2:

 

I started homeschooling in April of 1982. I had one neighbor who was homeschooling, who was part of a very unschool-y group. That was it. By the time Christian homeschoolers were finding each other and making support groups, I was pretty used to doing my own thing. So although I enjoyed our monthly park days (and later, when we moved to another part of the state, a monthly Moms' Night Out) and some field trips, I have always preferred participating in community sports and scouts and dance and whatnot. Homeschoolers tend to do their sports and dance and scouts and all during the day, and that's the time that I plan to be actually homeschooling my children. :-)

 

Most homeschoolers have not always homeschooled. That your dc have not always been taught at home would not be a factor in whether or not they were welcome.

 

Although I understand why you might want your children to be with their school friends, you may find that their school friends pull back. You might also find that their school friends try to talk them into coming back to school. The school friends might even repeat things their parents say, such as that your dc must be really dumb and that's why they're homeschooled. I am not making this up; children said that to my daughter. This is a good reason to try to develop some homeschooled friends if possible.

 

My dc did 4-H, marching band, and Scottish Highland dance with community-based groups. That gave them exposure in controlled environments (i.e., lots of adult interaction, which is more important than interaction with other children, even though it seems as if it's all about the children), and exposure to a wider group of people than if they had been in school or spent most of their time with friends from school.

 

Also, this will be a good time to homeschool your dd, because her same-age peers have become everything to her, but as they are all equally immature, they encourage each other to make poor decisions. Now that she will be home with you more, and with her siblings who will look up to her, you may be able to be a bigger influence in her life than the other children.

Edited by Ellie
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Welcome to homeschooling. :-) Also welcome to the Well Trained Mind forum. :cheers2:

Thank you! Really excited about our new adventure. I was homeschooled and unschooled in a very different time. Even with that experience I still wonder about my own kids  experience compared to their current peers. Hyper parenting. :leaving:  :leaving:  :leaving:  :leaving: 

 

 

 

Also, this will be a good time to homeschool your dd, because her same-age peers have become everything to her, but as they are all equally immature, they encourage each other to make poor decisions. Now that she will be home with you more, and with her siblings who will look up to her, you may be able to be a bigger influence in her life than the other children.

I completely agree. She and her brother get along much better during the summer and long breaks. When I was in college several of my professors remarked on how mature I was. I think for me it was partly due to the fact of not spending the majority of my time with same age peers. I was VERY social and loved being around my peers: but I did not feel as much of a pull to be like them. I know that maturity isn't only attained by being homeschooled. :) But for me ,I think it  gave me time to grow in ways I would not have had I been in traditional school...because I was SO social!

 

 

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Other children are like candy. Your kids love them, but too much of a good thing will make them rotten.

 

Some of the most successful adults I know were exposed to adults far more than children. Not only did they not socialize with other alternatively educated children, they were hardly exposed to other children at all.

 

Children learn to be well adjusted adults by being exposed to well adjusted ADULTS.

 

Childhood really doesn't need to be practiced. It is over in the blink of an eye. Kids need to be loved, by PEOPLE, not same age peers and certainly not other alternatively educated same age peers.

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We've never had a homeschool community. For the first few years after pulling DS out of public, there were literally no other homeschoolers in our area at all. When we moved, we joined a coop for a year, and while he did take a few classes, he didn't make any actual friends or feel any sort of kinship. He's tried a few homeschool classes here and there in the years since, but ultimately he prefers to study on on his own. Other kids mostly mean drama and annoyance for him, and he's never actually learned anything in outside classes.

 

He's not isolated by any means. He is on several sports teams between two different middle schools and privately. He is not a kid who requires much social time so his needs have been easy to meet. As far as I know, he has never once felt out of place or had anyone make him feel uncomfortable for being homeschooled. All I've ever heard from other kids is interest and often envy, but never has he been excluded or made to feel out of place.

 

You know your kids best, but I feel like as long as they are generally involved in something out of the house, they will be fine.

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We have homeschooled without a community, and we have homeschooled being shut out of a community.  The first is easy, the second is much harder.  Without a community you forge relationships however and wherever you can.  Being shut out, well, you start to feel like something is wrong with you.  And then you start to get disgusted with those who proclaim to be Christ-like.  And that's not healthy.

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We are secular in somewhat of a bible belt.  My main lifeline was finding a homeschooling friend whose philosophies matched mine and her daughter and my kids get along great. She is the extent of our homeschooling network.  Actually, we also do homeschool choir, though I know no-one there and its only once a week for an hour.  And then one does swim and the other does ballet.  We are helped by the fact that they are twins -- they play together most of the time. 

 

The first year is rough -- transitioning from being around kids constantly to being in a quiet house will take them a lot to get used to.  It was hard to separate what was a need (I need more interaction!) from what was just adjustment pains.  And the pain of doing work for mom, not a teacher! It took literally a year and a half.  We are in an awesome groove now, but it was sooo incremental and took a lot of soul searching on my part to figure out what works best for all of us. But having a homeschool group? Wasn't needed.

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*raising hand here*

 

We don't do a co-op or generally participate in homeschool classes.  We do know other homeschoolers- just from living here for several years.  When my kids do an activity/sport, it's usually in the evening with the public school kids.

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Our first year we went to a park day with a group sporadically. We knew a few, but the boys just played with each other. The second year found that with piano lessons and increased academic load,  taking a couple of hours out of 'prime' school time (1pm-3pm) wasn't going to work. We were then part of another group that was short lived was all but disbanded by Christmas. We aren't part of any groups nows for our third year.  We go on plenty of field trips (12 so far this year) with just ourselves. I am on several facebook groups and signed the boys up for an activity or two, but wouldn't call being part of the group, rather taking advantage of group deals with other homeschoolers.  It is kind of isolating, but I am introvert so that works :)  Most of the close friends who were homeschooling when we started are back in PS, so we are the only hold outs I personally know anymore.  My approach hasn't incorporated classes, yet so that's out for now. 
However, we are very active in Scouts, so have at least 2-3 activities a month with that. My oldest joined a board gaming group at the library so he goes to that once a week.  My youngest is really into piano. We try to stay social, but find we are doing just fine on our own. 

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We don't have a homeschool group, per say.

 

My kids have friends from their church, and others they met along the way in life. They have their cousins. They also are a part of activities that they meet other kids.

I'm kind of a loner anyways. I'm not sure I have energy to be part of a homeschool group. I don't think my kids are suffering.

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We don't have a homeschool group and my kids (3rd and 4th) have never asked to have one even though they are very social.  They prefer lots of one on one time with their friends rather than big groups of people.  

 

Also, although my kids have never been to school, their best friends (from a group of 12 families who met every Monday evening for potluck dinner when the kids were babies to age 5) have all been in school for 5 years.  We have maintained the friendships by inviting letting them know that any time their kids have an in-service/PD day, we are happy to have them over for the day.  I will even go pick them up.  We also try to make sure that we do things together like trick or treating or camping in the summer.

 

So, we've made a special effort to maintain the friendships they already had even once some (most really) went to school.

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We are members of a homeschool music coop, which meets once a week, but that's it. Everything else, such as baseball, cross country, archery, etc..., is just regular after school activities. Often we're the only homeschoolers. The girls kind of like it because everyone is jealous that they don't have to go to school. Lol. My youngest has a neighborhood friend who loves to come over when she is out of school to do school with us. She thinks it's fun.

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But what if you are not part of sports (b/c dc show no interest in sports), not part of Y (because all they offer is sports) and there are no kids in the neighborhood (0 kids literally). The nearest city with any kinds of cultural exposure (museums/ plays, etc is an hour away one way and that is if there is no traffic)?? And enrichment classes are over priced.

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But what if you are not part of sports (b/c dc show no interest in sports), not part of Y (because all they offer is sports) and there are no kids in the neighborhood (0 kids literally). The nearest city with any kinds of cultural exposure (museums/ plays, etc is an hour away one way and that is if there is no traffic)?? And enrichment classes are over priced.

 

I think that it is important for people to be active whether they are interested in a formal sport or not, so I would go on hikes (and if you want it to be communal, there are hiking clubs, and nature walks etc).  The Y does not only offer sports.  Our Y offers child care for kids up to age 10.  My daughter has volunteered taking care of the babies and toddlers for over 4 years  now.  They have movie nights.  And open swims (back to the premise that it is important to be active).  And youth leadership programs.  They used to have a kid's cooking class but I don't know if that is still being offered.  As far as exposure to culture, our local public school has lots of plays and events for the public.  If parents and grandparents are invited, so are we.  Most libraries have programs of some kind - story hours for young kids and often book clubs for older people.  Social opportunities don't have to be age segregated.  I enjoyed ice cream socials when I was young in our church - as one of the only young people there.  The ice cream still tasted good and I enjoyed the company of the older people.  ;)

 

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But what if you are not part of sports (b/c dc show no interest in sports), not part of Y (because all they offer is sports) and there are no kids in the neighborhood (0 kids literally). The nearest city with any kinds of cultural exposure (museums/ plays, etc is an hour away one way and that is if there is no traffic)?? And enrichment classes are over priced.

 

I think that it is important for people to be active whether they are interested in a formal sport or not, so I would go on hikes (and if you want it to be communal, there are hiking clubs, and nature walks etc).  The Y does not only offer sports.  Our Y offers child care for kids up to age 10.  My daughter has volunteered taking care of the babies and toddlers for over 4 years  now.  They have movie nights.  And open swims (back to the premise that it is important to be active).  And youth leadership programs.  They used to have a kid's cooking class but I don't know if that is still being offered.  As far as exposure to culture, our local public school has lots of plays and events for the public.  If parents and grandparents are invited, so are we.  Most libraries have programs of some kind - story hours for young kids and often book clubs for older people.  Social opportunities don't have to be age segregated.  I enjoyed ice cream socials when I was young in our church - as one of the only young people there.  The ice cream still tasted good and I enjoyed the company of the older people.  ;)

 

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Agreeing with everything you have said. But, Y membership is expensive here (over $1200 for the year just to put a foot through the door) and every class/activity you want to do through Y if you do find something of interest costs extra per class per student.  Like I said before everything enrichment here is overpriced. There is no movie nights/no open swims. Youth leadership programs are at extra charge (few hundred dollars each).  Local public schools have theater productions here but they charge $20-30 per person to get in. Our library is  fairly good on programing for kids under 10 yo but after that, good luck. Majority of library programs are gears toward kids 2-6 yo. Even to volunteer at the library you have to be 14 yo and only during the summer. Once you get to be 16 then it can be year round.  With multiple students anything that is anything costs a pretty penny. We do hang at the park and go on walks and keep active, but it is not the same as having few friends to just hang and kick back with. Sorry if this sounds like one big gripe. It's just the reality in our area.

 

Edited by housemouse
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Lots of people homeschool but never do anything activity wise until evenings, which means the kids they mix with may be some homeschool and some public/private school kids.  We do not do any co-op or daytime groups.  My kids do evening scouting which has a mix of kids.  Our groups are more homeschooled than public schooled, but there are no rules, anyone can be there.  We did just join a theater class in the day, but that is our first daytime planned homeschool thing.  We have always homeschooled and prefer to be home to get school done...so our social activities are in the afternoon/evenings and could be any kind of educational background in the kids attending then.  You won't be the only one :-)

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But what if you are not part of sports (b/c dc show no interest in sports), not part of Y (because all they offer is sports) and there are no kids in the neighborhood (0 kids literally). The nearest city with any kinds of cultural exposure (museums/ plays, etc is an hour away one way and that is if there is no traffic)?? And enrichment classes are over priced.

 That sounds hard. Do your kids feel like they want to be around other kids but aren't able to due the circumstances you mentioned above?

What has your experience been with other homeschoolers? It sounds like you live in a really expensive city. Are there any scouting or 4-h opportunities? I hope you find something that works for you and your kids. :grouphug:

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housemouse, on 19 Jan 2016 - 11:01 AM, said:snapback.png

But what if you are not part of sports (b/c dc show no interest in sports), not part of Y (because all they offer is sports) and there are no kids in the neighborhood (0 kids literally). The nearest city with any kinds of cultural exposure (museums/ plays, etc is an hour away one way and that is if there is no traffic)?? And enrichment classes are over priced.

 

 That sounds hard. Do your kids feel like they want to be around other kids but aren't able to due the circumstances you mentioned above?

What has your experience been with other homeschoolers? It sounds like you live in a really expensive city. Are there any scouting or 4-h opportunities? I hope you find something that works for you and your kids. :grouphug:

We have somewhat active homeschool community here but most of it get organized in the mornings, mostly for younger kids. It seems magic age is 11. Once you hit 11 yo, you are the "odd ball out" so to speak and group activities is extremely slim pickings.

 

We have 4H archery that the oldest is a part of but that is only 1 day a week and everything else that is 4H meet 6 or 7 pm for 2 hours in many cases for older kids (so if you included travel time we would not be home until close to 9pm) 

 

I've tried organizing some things like get together for bowling or roller skating or laser tag (nice two story set up) and if we are lucky maybe 2 families show up. Very rarely 3 families show up. Sometimes no one shows up which is a disappointment. People say they come, and then do not show up nor do they let anyone else who is coming know they will not be coming even if it is at the last second. And then those who come because there's suppose to be a nice turn out of older kids show up and no one else comes- guess what- they may come one more time just to see if it is the same or they may not come again at all because they were disappointed.

 

Even things like park days or Board Game Days (we get together at the library, everyone brings a game to share if they want to and kids play together and parents get their social interaction as well) never have much turn out and those who come are under 10 years old which leaves those who are 12+ kind of left out. Same thing, people say they come and then do not show up nor do they let anyone else who is coming know they are not coming. Again, those who come to check it out, leave sorely disappointed and they do not come again.

 

As far as living in an expensive city, not really. Its just everything that is homeschool related- any kind of class of any sort has been turned into a big business. Even asking for a multiple student discount (I have more than 2 often) is like committing an unspeakable crime.

Edited by housemouse
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1.  Keep looking to see if the homeschool groups accept non-religious or whatever religion you are.  Many will accept Mormons, etc.  Many will not...but you should check into it.

 

2.  I think there are a few areas in which it would be hard not to have ANY community for homeschooling.  The most difficult part would be, the lack of co-ops and no one to get in touch with when you need info about legalities.

 

But honestly, our homeschool group is only a part of our lives.  We have plugged into the swim team and my son has friends there.  My own personal grownup friends are from church.  My daughter's favorite friend goes to public school.  In fact, my son's closest two friends both go to public school too.  I think the biggest thing is to get involved in activities for yourself and your kids. Moms need friends, too so when you find a good lady that is kind and loving and fun, even if she's not perfect, be her friend...and see if it blossoms into a true friendship.  Some will, some won't but you will at least have plenty of acquaintances eventually.  

 

Your kids have to find their own niche anyway.  They won't always find the most interesting person to them is the homeschooler that would be so easy/convenient to be friends with anyway!! The truth is, you have to guide their choices and be aware, and sometimes even say "no" when they choose a bad apple.  BUT the truth is, they will make their own friends.  Who you think is "so nice, so polite, so cute" they might find utterly boring, and they might find another kid that is just as nice, just as polite, but who you didn't even notice. Just like you...you make your own friends...same thing.

 

So, I dont think it's that big of a deal as long as you are out there very consistently involved in community.  :o)

 

 

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I think that it is important for people to be active whether they are interested in a formal sport or not, so I would go on hikes (and if you want it to be communal, there are hiking clubs, and nature walks etc).  The Y does not only offer sports.  Our Y offers child care for kids up to age 10.  My daughter has volunteered taking care of the babies and toddlers for over 4 years  now.  They have movie nights.  And open swims (back to the premise that it is important to be active).  And youth leadership programs.  They used to have a kid's cooking class but I don't know if that is still being offered.  As far as exposure to culture, our local public school has lots of plays and events for the public.  If parents and grandparents are invited, so are we.  Most libraries have programs of some kind - story hours for young kids and often book clubs for older people.  Social opportunities don't have to be age segregated.  I enjoyed ice cream socials when I was young in our church - as one of the only young people there.  The ice cream still tasted good and I enjoyed the company of the older people.  ;)

 

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Agreeing with everything you have said. But, Y membership is expensive here (over $1200 for the year just to put a foot through the door) and every class/activity you want to do through Y if you do find something of interest costs extra per class per student.  Like I said before everything enrichment here is overpriced. There is no movie nights/no open swims. Youth leadership programs are at extra charge (few hundred dollars each).  Local public schools have theater productions here but they charge $20-30 per person to get in. Our library is  fairly good on programing for kids under 10 yo but after that, good luck. Majority of library programs are gears toward kids 2-6 yo. Even to volunteer at the library you have to be 14 yo and only during the summer. Once you get to be 16 then it can be year round.  With multiple students anything that is anything costs a pretty penny. We do hang at the park and go on walks and keep active, but it is not the same as having few friends to just hang and kick back with. Sorry if this sounds like one big gripe. It's just the reality in our area.

 

I am of the mind (and I hope I don't get completely attacked for this...) 

 

I am of the mind that the truly poor, and rural, who do not have a loving strong community, should not homeschool.  In that case, it would be better for kids to attend school and lift themselves from loneliness and poverty.  

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I am of the mind (and I hope I don't get completely attacked for this...) 

 

I am of the mind that the truly poor, and rural, who do not have a loving strong community, should not homeschool.  In that case, it would be better for kids to attend school and lift themselves from loneliness and poverty.  

 

In general I agree. If the choice is between being very lonely in homeschool in part due to lack of money or a decent school where my child would have friends, yeah I would probably choose school.  People need people. How much and often will vary.  Unfortunately it is completely possible to be surrounded by people in school and still be lonely. Or the school is not equipped to give the children the education they need to lift themselves out of poverty.

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Anyway, back to the original discussion...sorry about the rabbit trail....I think you will have no real problem.  I will say, that you should assume that your life will be one of professional chauffeur.  Mondays, I homeschool and then drive my dd to Scottish Dancing and my son to Math tutoring once a month, and then there's swimming...dropped off at 5:30 and picked up at 8.  Tuesdays I homeschool, visit an elderly friend on my lunch break, homeschool some more and then we go to the LIbrary and walking downtown, and then my son goes to swimming and gets picked up from swimming.  Wednesday is just swimming driivng,  Thursday my dd has co-op in the am, both kids have Math CLub in the pm every other week and then there's the evening swimming trips.  Friday is swimming and botball for my son and I try to arrange play dates for my dd.  

 

so, you can see...that my children and I all have very active social lives but it did require a lot of hard work to plug in and get them there...but I enjoy it.  In the car we listen to music and the way home from swimming my son loves to talk about his day.  It is a lot of work to get them out and about but it is worth it.  

 

Library Day is special because it is built in time for the 3 of us to just enjoy each other in a no-media, no responsibility environment!  We love it.

 

 

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I am of the mind (and I hope I don't get completely attacked for this...) 

 

I am of the mind that the truly poor, and rural, who do not have a loving strong community, should not homeschool.  In that case, it would be better for kids to attend school and lift themselves from loneliness and poverty.  

 

Ouch...

 

I'm trying so very hard not to be snarky here.... 

 

There are many, many families who fit your description who homeschooled successfully and happily. Many of them were the families who began the homeschooling movement and made it legal for you to homeschool in the first place! I didn't see many comfy, city kids with activities every afternoon and clubs every week homeschooling when I was a child. You're speaking out of privilege. There was no 'homeschooling community' in the 80s, and many homeschoolers back then were not 'loved' by 'strong' communities either, they were shut out. I know your country's laws were very much founded by religious homeschoolers but my countries laws were founded in large part by the rural families, who had been doing it for decades before it became a 'movement' in the US. 

 

Without poor, rural families with no support there would be no homeschooling in my country, and I suspect they had a lot more to do with the laws in your country than you acknowledge. Let's not criticize the people who made the choice possible in the first place, while you're benefiting from the struggles they went through. 

 

As one of those children from a poor, rural family with no loving strong community, homeschooling was better than the alternative we faced, and could have been great if my mother wasn't mentally ill.

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Agreeing with everything you have said. But, Y membership is expensive here (over $1200 for the year just to put a foot through the door) and every class/activity you want to do through Y if you do find something of interest costs extra per class per student.  Like I said before everything enrichment here is overpriced. There is no movie nights/no open swims. Youth leadership programs are at extra charge (few hundred dollars each).  Local public schools have theater productions here but they charge $20-30 per person to get in. Our library is  fairly good on programing for kids under 10 yo but after that, good luck. Majority of library programs are gears toward kids 2-6 yo. Even to volunteer at the library you have to be 14 yo and only during the summer. Once you get to be 16 then it can be year round.  With multiple students anything that is anything costs a pretty penny. We do hang at the park and go on walks and keep active, but it is not the same as having few friends to just hang and kick back with. Sorry if this sounds like one big gripe. It's just the reality in our area.

 

 

 

It sounds like you have older kids? The internet has opened up a whole new world to isolated homeschoolers. I actually met my husband on a website where people posted stories and poems they wrote! (storywrite.com and allpoetry.com). Not an online relationship, we met and chatted and eventually discovered we lived 15 minutes from each other and had met as children! lol. I made a couple of good friends who I met irl among kids I did online classes with, since the online classes always had general chat forums, a few were in driving distance of me. I made other friends through forums suited to my interests, like video games, or online games (I met my ex-fiancé through the text-based MMORPG game Utopia). I was involved in an online Internet radio network where I met a few people including my best friend. Some of these people, like my husband, turned out to be local or semi-local, I used to catch up with a few of them a couple of times a year. Others were purely online but those friendships were deep and have lasted. My best friend and I have never met but we've been speaking daily for 10 years now. 

 

Also, same-age peers and structured activity are nowhere near as important as simple human contact. Does your community have any sort of free activities at all? I attended a poetry club as a teen, everyone else there was 60+ but it was a great experience. Do you have a church community? I ran the church creche for years as a teen. Can the kids get jobs? I know people who met as coworkers who became great friends. I had one girl I became friends with when I was 11, I homeschooled while she went on to high school, but she invited me to a couple of get-togethers she hosted along with her other friends, and I got to know them. That little group of 8 kids who were 13-16 at the time began doing everything together. Some of them were there during the worst moments of my life, and I was there for theirs, and now we are now all grown up, having kids of our own, and our kids are becoming friends with each other. It all stemmed from one girl I met when I was 11, who, as an afterthought, invited me to her 13th birthday party even though I didn't know anyone else going. 

 

If you come across a person who you might be friends with or another homeschooling family in the area make an effort, a big effort, to do something social with them when you can. Keep reaching out. You don't need a huge group of friends, just one or two true friends is enough. 

 

Homeschooled kids tend to go through an awkward phase, between 10 and 15, where they are too old for a lot of their old activities, but too young to go 'hang out' with friends, can't drive or work or do anything with older teens, don't have the independence to just spend the day somewhere alone, etc. It's a very hard age. It does get better, or at least it did for all the kids in my family and my husbands family.

Edited by abba12
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Ultimately this topic starts to become as individual as homeschooling itself.  Not all homeschooling families or members in a family have the same social needs.  Not all live in the same type of area with the same type of access.  Not all have the same priorities or finances or personality or. . . .   Both of my kids went through a lonely time in their tween/early teens when they were trying to find their tribe.  (Psst.  I went through a similar lonely time in a B & M school when I was that age so it doesn't always have to do with homeschooling.)  One child found her tribe close to  home but with teens/young adults much older than her.  One child found his tribe online at first and is now finding them at work and in college groups where he couldn't find them closer to home when he was younger.  We can give our own testimonials of what has worked with us but we can't tell what will work for you or your children in your specific area. 

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I am of the mind (and I hope I don't get completely attacked for this...) 

 

I am of the mind that the truly poor, and rural, who do not have a loving strong community, should not homeschool.  In that case, it would be better for kids to attend school and lift themselves from loneliness and poverty.  

 

I find this incredibly offensive.  I also find it interesting how you have decided to group "poor" and "rural" as though they are one in the same.  I am posting, not to attack you, but hopefully to change the judgements you have made. 

 

We live rural.  Our nearest city is about 50 mins away.  I do not feel like my kids suffer for this.  Living rural is amazing.  My kids don't "do" nature walks at the local park.  Our yard is a nature-lover's dream.  We have moose, elk, deer, ducks, frogs, etc.  They get to study these things all the time.  We have a duck that returns every year to our dugout.  We have horses, cattle, a dog and are thinking about getting sheep or pigs for the kids to help to raise.  The kids are engaged in the day to day activities of our life.  We don't run out to every activity or event, not because we are rural or can't afford to, but because I want them to have a strong sense of family before they worry about embracing all the world has to offer.  I feel like rural life is a huge blessing while we try to accomplish that goal.  There are less distractions out here.  We do not have a "loving, strong community" by any means.  We have a church we attend weekly and a group of friends we try to get together with often.  Only one of these homeschools.  There is a homeschool group, but it's urban based and we pick and choose the events we participate in.  We are not lonely.

 

Clearly you don't know what it's like to be "poor."  Try attending a school where everyone knows your clothes are hand-me-downs (and mocks you for it).  Try ripping the tags out so no ones knows where they came from.  Try pretending that you hate skiing because your Mom can't afford to send you on the class trip everyone else is attending. Try being the teen who wolfs down a bagged lunch in the locker room and then pretends not to be hungry while everyone else goes out for burgers and fries.  Then try being poor and keeping your child home where they can be loved and respected and taught that they are worth something even if they don't have two pennies to rub together.  Please don't make the assumption that money means quality, especially when it comes to an education. 

 

I am not in any way saying that every family should homeschool, but I definitely don't think one should feel discouraged to homeschool simply based upon location or income.  There are pros and cons to every situation. 

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I'm very grateful that my parents couldn't afford to pay for "proper" socialization when I was a homeschooled teen. I fear that if my parents had been able to drive me all over to scheduled "opportunities," I would have grown up to have an unimaginative, money-dependent view of what community and socialization is.

 

If you grew up with all your friends being scheduled and provided to you through either paid events or public school, I can see how it would be hard to imagine a culture that socializes differently.

 

As a homeschooled teen back when there weren't very many other homeschooled teens, my closest friends weren't other homeschoolers. My best friend, who I met at age 10, was a poor public schooler who was very lonely at school. We are still close friends and she says she wishes her parents would have homeschooled her. We communicated chiefly through the phone and mail, and got to have a sleep over a few times each year.

 

Now, my mom wouldn't drive me anywhere or pay for me to have friends, but I did wind up at public school as a teen. Not with a consumer mindset -- my mom found someone to drive me there so that I could assist the kindergarten teacher. I wanted to find out what teaching was like. I also went to the public school at age 12 -- to pass out flyers offering low-cost tutoring. I tutored elementary students every afternoon for seven years. I was able to pay for my own piano lessons, car insurance and gas once I started driving, and my first year of college. I had other "odd" jobs, too. I was able to make real community connections and easily moved into "real" jobs in my 20s.

 

I think if my mom had scheduled my days with outside activities, I would have missed so much -- like the week I spend helping an elderly woman on my street sort and file her genealogy papers. I didn't know then how valuable that experience would be to me later on.

 

If I had been socializing with only people who lived like me, I would have missed knowing the girls on my street who grew up to be sex workers. I might have forever seen girls on the street as "those others" and not had a real understanding.

 

If I had spent my extra time in educational co-ops, maybe I wouldn't have had time to learn to be self sufficient. I wouldn't know all the ways I know to keep my family comfortable and thriving through tough times. Maybe I wouldn't have had time to learn to bake, sew, garden, and keep chickens.

 

And my story is not unique. This type of "isolated" lifestyle was common before homeschooling became popular among the urban middle class.

 

There's so much to do and learn... sometimes being in a room full of people is just a distraction.

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I don't know what I was thinking with that comment..,of course I support rural homeschoolers, even poor ones to do whatever they want- in fact I don't really think that much about other people as I wand everyone to live their own life...(and FTR I grew up poor and rural)

 

I believe children should not be over socialized or over scheduled. In fact my children had almost no "schedule" until they were pre teens.

 

My comment was specifically directed at One pp who sounded really unhappy and disconnected...and is clearly unable to make her rural life a fulfilling one. FOr whatever reason. maybe they have no church, no community activities, no county fair, no hayrides and pumpkin festivals, no trips to the city, no birthday parties, no visits to neighbors and trips to the Amish farmers market every Saturday....(these are all the things that we looked forward to season-by-season when I grew up rural) and to add to that no school to connect and find these things, and the *feeling* of being alone and unhappy ...is what I meant when I said "No loving community"...

 

I truly apologize for offending but there are some circumstances under which people should consider different options. If YOU ARE HAPPY WITH YOUR LIFE then you are not the person who should consider different options. If you are happy with your family, your visiting animals, your quiet serene life, your season by season events whether they be with other human beings or animals, then that's fine.

 

Please forgive me for not more carefully wording it..or maybe I should have just generally said, "Well people need to do what makes them and their kids happy and healthy. If you have tried for a year or two and are not happy and healthy in your social situation, then its ok to try another social situation and see if it works better."

Edited by Calming Tea
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